Africa

Warming World Drives Hurricane Forming Winds, Study Says

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 28, 2014   View Article

Wind-whipped mayhem may ratchet up as the global climate adjusts to ever increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, according to a new study.

In particular, easterly winds associated with weather systems known as African easterly waves that bring rains critical to crops and livestock in the Sahel, transport Saharan dust within Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean, and play a role in the formation of tropical cyclones –- i.e. hurricanes –- will strengthen.

Will fences save Africa’s lion king?

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 30, 2013   View Article

The world’s remaining lions are in trouble. There are simply too many humans hungry for the same land the majestic cats roam. The more the human population grows, the more the lion population plummets. Only fences can keep one species from killing the other, according to a leading lion researcher.

In fenced reserves such as South Africa’s Kruger National Park, which is as large as the state of New Jersey, “the population of lions is doing just fine,” Craig Packer, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota, told NBC News from his research site in Tanzania.

“However, that is just a small proportion of the total African population of lions. The vast majority of lions live in unfenced reserves and … the trends are pretty disturbing,” he added.

Science explodes at African lake

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: June 28, 2011   View Article

The depths of Africa’s Lake Kivu harbor untold quantities of carbon dioxide and methane gases that could provide abundant electricity to millions of Rwandans and Congolese settling along its shores. But those gases could suddenly release, killing everything in and around the lake.

“Understanding whether you can find scenarios that would lead to something like that, a catastrophic release of gas, is of course important,” Anthony Vodacek, a remote sensing scientist at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, told me on Monday.

Chimp Gangs Kill to Expand Territory

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 21, 2010   View Article

Some gangs of chimpanzees beat their neighbors to death in bids to expand their turf, according to a new study.

While scientists have long known that chimps will kill each other on occasion, the finding shores up a long-held hypothesis that humans’ closest living relatives sometimes turn to violence to annex valuable parcels of land.

Where Did Dogs Become Our “Best Friends”?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 3, 2009   View Article

DNA from scrappy dogs in African villages is raising doubts about a theory that dogs first became “man’s best friend” in East Asia.

Based on DNA evidence, scientists believe that domestic dogs originated from Eurasian gray wolves sometime between 15,000 and 40,000 years ago.

More Rhinos Hacked Apart as Horn Demand Spikes

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 13, 2009   View Article

Bloody and incomplete, their horns hacked away by poachers, rhinoceros carcasses are appearing in greater numbers, due to growing Asian demand and international trade, groups say.

In Zimbabwe, for example, gangs of poachers use rifles to shoot the one-ton animals and then hack off the horns with axes, according to an account from Save the Rhino, a London-based conservation group.

Oldest Human Footprints With Modern Anatomy Found

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 26, 2009   View Article

About 1.5 million years ago, human ancestors walked upright with a spring in their steps just as modern humans do today, suggests an analysis of ancient footprints found in northern Kenya.

The prints are the oldest known to show modern foot anatomy.

The discovery also helps round out the picture of a cooling and drying episode in Africa that compelled tree-dwelling human ancestors to venture into the open landscape for food, said John Harris, a paleoanthropologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach